During the last several months as we have observed our national presidential campaign unfold again.  A theme has continued to resurface for me.  That theme has been one of Leadership and Trust.  As I watch the discussions unfold in many arenas and the accusations fly.  It is clear to me the underlying common theme of fear.  That fear has created a society of distrust, and in our current selection of candidates there are some justified reason for that distrust.  When we live in a cloud of fear and distrust we many times can’t see beyond that to look at hard facts and we may react more strongly to issues or events.  Are there times in our careers where we have found ourselves also blind by fear and distrust to the point of missing facts, realities, and maybe over react also? 

So as current leaders, new leaders, or potential leaders one of the most important aspects of the work culture we must build or preserve is the culture of trust.  This is many times one of the toughest to create or maintain also.  But without a foundation of trust, accomplishing projects, making change, and retaining staff will be a real challenge.   So let’s explore what we can do as leaders to build and maintain that trust.  If your team has had unfortunate experience with leaders previously and had their trust violated.  Please be extra patient, as it will take even longer and extra effort to get to the first few levels.  You will be tested. 

The first lesson leaders must learn is that you earn no trust by obtaining the title.  You actually don’t even gain respect by that title either.  You may gain a bit of power, get a bigger office and be able to attend higher powered meetings and sign more forms.  But when it comes to your team, the hard work starts once you have all of that. 

The second lesson is that you earn trust by being open, demonstrating that you care about them, the work that they do, and the company.  By demonstrating your competence, your integrity, your consistency, your follow through, and your honesty and transparency.  Use your best communication skills and do so consistently, seek out a mentor or a coach to help you through.   If they truly believe you have the skills to do what you were hired to do, have the company’s best interest and their best interest at heart and will be thoughtful in your decisions.  You are off to a great start.  It’s always wise to listen more than you talk in the beginning. 

The third thing to remember is that trust cannot be built overnight.  It requires time, effort, sincerity, compassion and a commitment.  It also requires doing follow up.  If you say you are going to do something, then do it.  It is truly all about relationships and we all know building those takes time.  As your team sees that you are with them to strive for the greater good, they will come around and learn in time to be able to take even the tough news from you with greater ease.  You will see them coming to the table to help solve challenges as they arise.  That is when leadership is truly rewarding and the concept of team work is at it’s finest. 

To your success!  If you find you have room to grow in your leadership skills, ability to handle challenging situations, or move on to the next level of leadership, we are here to support you in that growth.